Human behavior

This page was last edited on 13 December 2017, at 13:14.

Human behaviour is the responses of individuals or groups of humans to internal and external stimuli. It refers to the array of every physical action and observable emotion associated with individuals, as well as the human race. While specific traits of one's personality and temperament may be more consistent, other behaviours will change as one moves from birth through adulthood. In addition to being dictated by age and genetics, behaviour, driven in part by thoughts and feelings, is an insight into individual psyche, revealing among other things attitudes and values. Social behaviour, a subset of human behaviour, study the considerable influence of social interaction and culture. Additional influences include ethics, encircling, authority, rapport, hypnosis, persuasion and coercion.

The behaviour of humans (and other organisms or even mechanisms) falls within a range with some behaviour being common, some unusual, some acceptable, and some beyond acceptable limits. In sociology, behaviour in general includes actions having no meaning, being not directed at other people, and thus all basic human actions. Behaviour in this general sense should not be mistaken with social behaviour, which is a more advanced social action, specifically directed at other people. The acceptability of behaviour depends heavily upon social norms and is regulated by various means of social control. Human behaviour is studied by the specialized academic disciplines of psychiatry, psychology, social work, sociology, economics, and anthropology.

Human behaviour is experienced throughout an individual’s entire lifetime. It includes the way they act based on different factors such as genetics, social norms, core faith, and attitude. Behaviour is impacted by certain traits each individual has. The traits vary from person to person and can produce different actions or behaviour from each person. Social norms also impact behaviour. Due to the inherently conformist nature of human society in general, humans are pressured into following certain rules and displaying certain behaviours in society, which conditions the way people behave. Different behaviours are deemed to be either acceptable or unacceptable in different societies and cultures. Core faith can be perceived through the religion and philosophy of that individual. It shapes the way a person thinks and this in turn results in different human behaviours. Attitude can be defined as "the degree to which the person has a favorable or unfavorable evaluation of the behaviour in question."[1] One's attitude is essentially a reflection of the behaviour he or she will portray in specific situations. Thus, human behaviour is greatly influenced by the attitudes we use on a daily basis.



Long before Charles Darwin published his book On the Origin of Species in 1859, animal breeders knew that patterns of behaviour are somehow influenced by inheritance from parents. Studies of identical twins as compared to less closely related human beings, and of children brought up in adoptive homes, have helped scientists understand the influence of genetics on human behaviour. The study of human behavioural genetics is still developing steadily with new methods such as genome-wide association studies.[2]

Social norms

Social norms, the often-unspoken rules of a group, shape not just our behaviours but also our attitudes. An individual’s behaviour varies depending on the group(s) they are a part of, a characteristic of society that allows to norms heavily impact society. Without social norms, human society would not function as it currently does; humans would have to be more abstract in their behaviour, as there would not be a pre-tested 'normal' standardized lifestyle, and individuals would have to make many more choices for themselves. The institutionalization of norms is, however, inherent in human society perhaps as a direct result of the desire to be accepted by others, which leads humans to manipulate their own behaviour in order to 'fit in' with others. Depending on their nature and upon one's perspective, norms can impact different sections of society both positively (e.g. eating, dressing warm in the winter) and negatively (e.g. racism, drug use).


Creativity is assumed to be present within every individual.[3] Creativity pushes people past their comfort zone. For example, the Wright Brothers' invention of the first practical fixed-wing aircraft. The aircraft first took flight in 1903, and fifty years later the first passenger jet airliner was introduced. Creativity has kept people alive during harsh conditions, and it has also made certain individuals wealthy. We use creativity in our daily lives as well, such as finding a shortcut to a destination.

Core faith and culture

Another important aspect of human behaviour is their “core faith”. This faith can be manifested in the forms of religion, philosophy, culture, and/or personal belief and often affects the way a person can behave. 80% of the United States public claims some sort of belief in a higher power, which makes religion a large importance in society.[4] It is only natural for something that plays such a large role in society to have an effect on human behaviour.[5] Morals are another factor of core faith that affects the way a person behaves. Emotions connected to morals including shame, pride, and discomfort and these can change the way a person acts. Most importantly, shame and guilt have a large impact on behaviour.[6] Lastly, culture highly affects human behaviour. The beliefs of certain cultures are taught to children from such a young age that they are greatly affected as they grow up. These beliefs are taken into consideration throughout daily life, which leads to people from different cultures acting differently. These differences are able to alter the way different cultures and areas of the world interact and act.[7]


An attitude is an expression of favor or disfavor toward a person, place, thing, or event;[8] it alters between each individual. Everyone has a different attitude towards different things. A main factor that determines attitude is likes and dislikes. The more one likes something or someone the more one is willing to open up and accept what they have to offer. When one doesn’t like something, one is more likely to get defensive and shut down. An example of how one's attitude affects one's human behaviour could be as simple as taking a child to the park or to the doctor. Children know they have fun at the park so their attitude becomes willing and positive, but when a doctor is mentioned, they shut down and become upset with the thought of pain. Attitudes can sculpt personalities and the way people view who we are. People with similar attitudes tend to stick together as interests and hobbies are common. This does not mean that people with different attitudes do not interact, the fact is they do. What it means is that specific attitudes can bring people together (e.g., religious groups). Attitudes have a lot to do with the mind which highly relates to human behaviour. The way a human behaves depends a lot on how they look at the situation and what they expect to gain from it.[9] Positive attitudes are better than negative ones as negativity can bring on negative emotions that most of the time can be avoided. It is up to humans to make sure their attitudes positively reflect the behaviours they want to show. This can be done by assessing their attitudes and properly presenting them in society.

See also


  1. ^ Ajzen I, Fishbein M. (1999) Theory of reasoned action/Theory of planned behaviour. University of South Florida.
  2. ^ Anholt, Robert R. H.; Mackay, Trudy F. C. (2010). Principles of behavioural genetics. Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-12-372575-2. Lay summary (16 October 2010). Plomin, Robert; DeFries, John C.; Knopik, Valerie S.; Neiderhiser, Jenae M. (24 September 2012). Behavioural Genetics. Shaun Purcell (Appendix: Statistical Methods in Behaviourial Genetics). Worth Publishers. ISBN 978-1-4292-4215-8. Retrieved 4 September 2013. Lay summary (4 September 2013).
  3. ^ Tanggaard, L. (2013). The sociomateriality of creativity in everyday life. (pp. 20-21). Sage Journals. retrieved from
  4. ^ "'Nones' on the Rise: One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation". Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. October 9, 2012. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  5. ^ Spilka, B., & McIntosh, D. N. (1996). The psychology of religion. Westview Press.
  6. ^ Tangney, J. P., Stuewig, J., & Mashek, D. J. (2007). Moral emotions and moral behaviour. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 345.
  7. ^ Triandis, H. C. (1994). Culture and social behaviour. McGraw-Hill Book Company.
  8. ^ WYER, R. S. J. (1965). "Effect of child-rearing attitudes and behaviour on children S responses to hypothetical social situations". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2(4), 480-486. (registration required)
  9. ^ KECMANOVIC, D. (1969). "The paranoid attitude as the common form of social behaviour. Sociologija, 11(4), 573-585".7 (registration required)

External links

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.